Genetic regulation of cellular behaviors during animal development
During animal development, cells divide, change their shapes, and migrate to form a complex body structure. To study these dynamic cellular behaviors, we use the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system. Using gene manipulation and live imaging techniques, we aim to understand how cellular dynamics are regulated genetically and molecularly. We currently focus on multiple microtubule functions, and analyze their temporal and spatial regulation during cell division and morphogenesis of sensory neurons. Another topic of interest is how the shape and size of cells that comprise specific organs (e.g., gonads and intestine) are regulated coordinately during development. Finally, to understand how changes of the genome sequence lead to evolution of cellular dynamics, we aim to establish a new research field called “evolutionary cell biology”, using C. elegans and other closely related nematodes.